4 Tips Every Young Athlete Should Know for Staying Hydrated

After a long, cold winter just about everywhere in the US, what a relief it is to have warmer weather and longer days. Practices and games that occur during the heat of the day can bring the risk of dehydration, especially for young athletes.

Staying hydrated can help athletes feel and play their best. The U.S. Soccer Federation uses the acronym GOAL for its recommendations for youth athletes, parents, and coaches.

Get acclimated: Young athletes especially need to give their bodies time to adjust to higher, more humid temperatures. Wearing shorts, tops, and sports bras made of moisture-wicking fabric (not cotton) helps your body cool itself.

On-schedule drinking: Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Increase how much you drink throughout the day, every day. Develop the habit of drinking a glass of water before you go to bed or when you get up in the morning. And be sure to drink before practice or a game, too.

Always bring a drink to practices and games. Stay away from caffeinated, so-called “energy” drinks that can cause health problems, especially in young people. To replace electrolytes after you finish playing, try chocolate milk, V-8 juice, or 100% fruit juice, which contains more carbohydrates, potassium, and nutrients than a sports drink

Learn the signs of dehydration: dizziness, nausea, chills, and unusual fatigue. If you experience any of these, stop playing, move to a cooler location, drink fluids, and – most importantly – notify a coach, parent, or other adult.

What you wear can help keep you cool, too. Dragonwing girlgear is made from fabric that wicks moisture so your body stays cooler. Check out our new Mesh Racer Sports Bra and Un-Dee Light Compression Shorts.

Are Sport Drinks Really Good For You?

In part 2 of our feature of nutritionist Kenlyn Young, the topic of healthy sports drinks is brought into the discussion. Is just water sufficient for an athlete? What about sports drinks? Below, our featured blogger answers some of your most pressing questions about sports drinks.

“Staying hydrated is a critical component of exercise. Drinking 2-3 glasses of water several hours before exercise is a must. And of course, during as well. Thinking of grabbing a sports drink? Think again. For most people participating in a sporting activity, drinking water is absolutely adequate. Sports drinks do provide sodium, the electrolye that is lost during exercise, however along with the sodium comes sugar, artificial colors, and brominated vegetable oil, a known harmful product. Most individuals have more than enough sodium in their diets to compensate for exercise. However, if one feels the need to replenish electrolytes after exercise a much better choice than a sports drink is V-8, chocolate milk, or 100% fruit juice. Fruit juice contains more carbohydrate, potassium, and nutrients than a sports drink.”

-Kenlyn Young